Every so often in the world of sports, there comes an act of sportsmanship that causes even the most cynical and jaded fans to sit up and take note. Such was the case in the recent college women’s softball game between Western Oregon University and Central Washington University.
Western Oregon senior, Sara Tucholsky, was at the plate with two runners on and her team trailing 2-1 when she hit the first home run of her life. Missing first base, she collapsed as she attempted to return and touch it. She apparently suffered a torn ligament in her right knee.
With Tucholsky unable to continue around the bases, Western Oregon coach, Pam Knox was faced with her only option of substituting for the injured player and causing the home run to be reduced to a single. Although rules would not allow Tucholsky to be assisted by her teammates, it had no such prohibition against her opponents offering her aid.
Central Washington first baseman and Great Northwestern Athletic Conference career homerun champion, Mallory Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace carried Tucholsky between them, allowing her to touch each base as they made their way around the infield.
This selfless act of sportsmanship essentially handed the Western Oregon the game and caused Central Washington’s elimination from the league playoff.
Before the game, these two teams would have undoubtedly viewed each other as rivals, and yet, in a moment of crisis, a demonstration of character caused victory to emerge from adversity. It could be argued that this act went beyond what would be considered sportsmanship and entered into the realm of grace. Holtman and Wallace were certainly not obligated to help Tucholsky in such a generous manner, but they did so anyway without regard to what it would ultimately cost them.
Often, we find ourselves in the batter’s box of life with the game on the line. Circumstances that would seem to be against us stand between us and victory. We can give it our best shot and still not have the strength to make it all the way home.
It is in these times that we may be surprised to find that things that would at first blush appear to be against us, actually are working for us. God’s grace takes elements of adversity and actually uses them to move us to where we need to be.
We would do well to remember the words of Joseph when confronting his treacherous brethren, “You thought evil against me, but God meant it for good.”
There are no circumstances that are greater than the grace of God. Don’t be daunted by the enormity of the task to which God has called you. Don’t be intimidated by the strength of the opponent. By faith, swing for the fence, and when you have done all you can in the strength of the Lord, you may be surprised to find yourself being carried to victory by adversity.